Boosting federal Great Lakes restoration investments. Ramping upfunding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Enacting a nationwide moratorium on water shut-offs. Prioritizing the communities most impacted by pollution and harm. These are some of the 2021 priorities that Great Lakes advocates brought to members of Congress via dozens of virtual meetings during the week of March 2-5, 2021 as part of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition’s annual Great Lakes Days. The annual event, which normally occurs in Washington, D.C., was held virtually this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
Save the Dunes is a governing member of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, and serves as the Indiana state lead in charge of assembling a team of volunteer advocates to lobby congressional legislators each year about the coalition’s priority policies. This year, the Indiana team met with the offices of Congressman Frank Mrvan, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Congressman Jim Banks, Senator Todd Young and Senator Mike Braun.
“We had many positive conversations with our legislators and their staff; they were generally supportive of what we were asking and eager to learn more,” said Katie Hobgood, Program Director at Save the Dunes. “This is an excellent opportunity to engage with all of our representatives in and around Lake Michigan. Part of our job as a nonpartisan organization is to build relationships with all legislators so we can keep lines of communication open, and continue to educate and urge them to act on key issues that have big impacts on all the Great Lakes states.”
This year, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is asking members of Congress to:
• Boost federal funding to restore and protect the Great Lakes to $375 million in fiscal year 2022 through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
• Increase investments in the community drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to $10 billion in fiscal year 2022 through the EPA’s State Revolving Fund programs ($20 billion total).
• Fund lead-line replacement at $4.5 billion annually.
• Strengthen clean water protections and set protective standards for toxic pollutants such as PFAS.
• Fund various agencies to bolster defenses to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
• Enact a nationwide moratorium on water shutoffs.
“The global pandemic has only re-enforced the need for elected officials to act with urgency to ensure that every person in this country has access to clean, safe and affordable water,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We appreciate the support that we have seen over the last several years to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Federal investments are producing results, but serious threats remain. We look forward to working with Congress to advance solutions to restore our Great Lakes, protect our drinking water, safeguard our public health, and uphold our quality of life. Delay will only make the problems worse and more expensive to solve.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition harnesses the collective power of more than 160 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.
Save the Dunes’ mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the Indiana dunes and all-natural resources in Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed for an enhanced quality of life. Visit www.savedunes.org or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/savedunes.
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